Where do ideas come from?
Inspiration can be found anywhere once you open your mind to it, and it usually finds you rather than the other way around.
Non-creatives often ask me where on earth I come up with the stuff that I do. But the truth is that we all come up with ideas relevant to our field. I could ask a builder or a doctor the same question, and look at them with the same amazement as they look at me.
I think what makes artists different is how and where we seek out our ideas.
My inspiration comes from many places. As a body artist often a potential model will be a source of inspiration and I will create an artwork specifically intended for that person; something that reflects their personality or their physical attributes.
Other times I get inspired by a certain location or environment; or something as simple as a leaf or a shape in the clouds.
A lot of my inspiration comes from nature. I enjoy going for long walks; this is my happy place where my everyday worries disappear for a while and where I can connect with my spiritual side.
I have a notebook next to my bed as I often have very surreal dreams and these can be a great source of inspiration. I will wake up, scribble some words down, and go back to sleep. In the morning I will read through my notes, and to be honest most of the time they make absolutely no sense, but every once in a while there’s a golden nugget in there.
Of course you don’t always have the luxury and time to wait for ideas to come to you. Sometimes you need to give them a little push in the right direction. Great ideas don´t come on command, but you can cultivate inspiration and creativity by setting up the right environment for yourself.
When I feel stuck I change my environment. Sometimes all you need to get those creative juices flowing, is a little change of scenery. Here are some things that have worked well for me:
• Listening to music
• Going for walks
• Meditation (for me this merely means spending time by myself, daydreaming)
• People watching
I can´t recall a single great idea that formed while sitting in front of my computer. That might be where I refine the idea but certainly not where it starts (more on that in a later blog).
You know yourself best. If you like running that might be the best environment for your ideas to form. I think the most important thing is to allocate time and seek out opportunities and situations where you feel you can be 100% yourself; where you can forget about everyday tasks and just surrender to your imagination for a while.
And always carry a notebook with you! It can be digital or analog, but don´t just rely on your memory. I made this mistake with dreams so many times before I finally started to write them down. I would wake up in the night and think “that was an amazing dream, I must remember that!”. In the moment it would be so clear that I thought there would be no way I´d ever forget, but the next day all I´d remember would be that there was something I told myself to remember, yet I would have no clue what it was!
Writing down thoughts and ideas all the time might seem silly or overrated. And to be fair 9 out of 10 ideas (or more likely 99 out of 100) you will probably discard the moment you see them on paper. Yet that 1 golden nugget will be all worth it. And simply the habit of writing stuff down will exercise your brain and open your mind to new and better ideas.
And please allow yourself to think big. Ideas don´t come fully formed and ready to put into the world. But there will be plenty of time to filter and refine later.
Where do your best ideas come from? Feel free to comment below.